From March 18-23, the College of Information Sciences and Technology will be hosting the second annual #ISTStartup Week. The event is designed to showcase various entrepreneurial talent from across the country, among them Penn State alumni such as Weebly co-founder David Rusenko (Class of ’07; @drusenko) and Sincerely co-founder Matt Brezina (Class of ’03; @brezina).
In addition to former Penn State talent, Start-up Week will also bring in other influential members of the entrepreneurial community, notably Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman and @Scribd founder Tikhon Bernstam. Huffman and Bernstam will co-host a “town hall” on Friday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m. (The entire schedule of featured speakers can be found here.)
The week’s events will conclude with Penn State’s Hackathon, HackPSU, a 24-hour entrepreneurial competition which will begin on Friday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. Organized by student-run accelerator Innoblue (@InnobluePSU) and hosted at the College of IST, HackPSU will challenge entrepreneurs to “hack together” rough ideas into prototypes. Last semester’s HackPSU participants, in a span of 24 hours, created innovations such as an Android app called “Remote-in” and a 4-player cooperative game called aMAZEing.
HackPSU, which is still accepting sign-ups, will include hackers from both within Penn State as well as other universities such as UPenn, Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Michigan, and Illinois.
“One of our goals this year was to bring more students from other schools to HackPSU,” says Kathleen Warner, President of Innoblue and a speaker for Startup Week. “Because of sponsorship, we are able to cover traveling costs for students from other schools.”
Resulting prototypes will be judged by a panel of Startup Week entrepreneurs, who will award the winning team an all expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley, sponsored by @ReadyForce. Trip attendees will “get the red carpet treatment, tour the hottest start-ups in the valley, meet founders and VCs, hear interesting talks and of course attend some awesome parties and networking events along with 100 other top hackers from around the country.”
So, Penn State — bring your ideas to Startup Week and the HackPSU Hackathon. At the very least, you’ll leave with a great deal of entrepreneurial experience and, who knows, you might just score a trip to the other Valley.